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McMaster and the Challenge of Sharia Supremacism


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Like his familiar bipartisan Beltway camp, he underestimates the threat.

Andrew C. McCarthy

August 12, 2017


Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster is a great American patriot. I have not had the privilege of meeting him. Friends I trust who know him well, however, bear witness to his unsurpassed valor in the defense of our nation, to which attest silver and bronze stars, among his array of commendations. And that’s besides his warrior-scholar’s penchant to speak (and write) his mind thoughtfully, at the risk of rubbing his superiors the wrong way.

All of that goes a long way in my book. Long enough that I have no appetite to join the chorus demanding his ouster as President Trump’s national-security adviser.

That is not to say that there is no room for policy dispute. Meaning serious policy dispute, not a Manichean cartoon that depicts conservatives locked in a duel à outrance between progressive-lite globalists and populist nationalists (or is it nationalist populists?). This conservative doesn’t fit in either of those categories. Nor, come to think of it, do most of my conservative friends — including many who have been pigeonholed as one or the other by their opposite numbers.





This is only natural. In the foreign realm, we encounter many actors who must be dealt with on their own terms, terms that would not be a good fit for our society. It is a fair criticism that many of us who are hostile to sharia supremacism have unreasonable expectations about how (and even whether) our government should interact with shady Muslim regimes and movements overseas. It is just as valid, however, to point out that the accommodations made to Islamists in places where we have no choice but to deal with them are not accommodations that should be made here at home. On our turf, sharia principles contradict our culture — as evidenced by the Islamists’ perdurable resistance to assimilation (see, e.g., Europe’s parallel societies).

We have a right to expect that our national-security officials will appreciate, rather than blur, this distinction. It is one thing to say, as Washington does, that picking unnecessary fights with Islamists — e.g., designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization — complicates our ability to make and keep alliances against global jihadism. It is quite another thing to fail to recognize the threat Islamists pose to our own society and constitutional system.

An Islamist is a Muslim committed to the imposition of sharia. There may be “moderate Islamists” in Anbar Province; there are none in America. I have great respect for General McMaster, but I’m just as worried about whether he gets that, as he apparently is worried about whether there are too many Islamophobes on the NSC. As for the president, well, he talks a good game.

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